Constructing a Building Out of Index Card Boxes

28mm sci-fi wargame building made out of index card boxes

Ever since I picked up one of these Advantus Super Stacker index card boxes for its intended purpose of holding 3×5 notecards, I wanted to use it for wargaming terrain. It has several interesting visual details, most especially the girder-like lattice work on the sides, that make excellent architectural detail at scale. And as their name suggests, they are intended to be stacked to make multi-level structures.

This kind of architecture perhaps suggests early-stage colonization where rugged transorbital shipping pods are repurposed for use as buildings after they are unladen of their goods. Even in a multi-level building like the one pictured here, one can expect a certain level of customization in terms of the doors, windows, and decorations, as different materials or different owners come on the scene.

There are a lot of different pieces used in this build, from custom 3D printed pieces to broken toys and store-bought bits and bobs to literal garbage. In this way, it is a faithful representation of the ‘real-life’ piece it represents. I think the key to this, like my last building, is the use of EVA foam for the insets. They can have detail carved in and can be easily cut out to inset doors, windows, and panels. The flexibility of the foam is very forgiving of imprecise cuts unlike plasticard or chipboard, stretching to get out of the way or expanding slightly to fill in gaps. I recommend it.

When the building and base are painted, I will add an cloth awning of some sort out front, stretched over the protruding railings.

Speaking of railings, one of the difficulties I ran into was figuring out how to handle the ‘sun decks’ for the second and third floors. I had originally considered putting in ladders or fire escape style steps, but they are laborious to make and there wasn’t enough room anyway. As you can see, the design of the porches went through several iterations before I settled on those plastic semi-circles covered with granny grating. The railings are lengths of plastic hair curlers with a central post made out of a coupling for those glow-stick necklaces/bracelets.

To keep it useful for gaming, I’m not going to clutter up the sidewalk with tables and chairs, but I will probably include at least one to stick on the corner. This is made with one of those baby food pouches fitted with a tiny parasol.

Let me know what you think of it and stay tuned for more updates. In the mean time, I’d appreciate any ideas or suggestions you might have.

5 responses to “Constructing a Building Out of Index Card Boxes”

  1. I love the serendipitous discovery of wargaming terrain at various stores. I’m really getting into the whole crafting thing, now that summer is coming along and I have plenty of outside time watching my twins play.

  2. Sweet! Where do you get the little round granny gratings? I’ve only found big, dinner-plate sized ones.

    How about a noodle stand in which to slurp up ramen in the rainy neon night?

    • I assume I got them at one of the craft stores, though I may have also picked them up in a Dollar Tree. I’m not sure what they are used for. I will be making some more buildings with these crates, so outside dining or street vendors is on the menu.

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